Mo Willems (SHEEP IN THE BIG CITY) tells us he will be attending the Chicago BOOKEXPO:
“I’ll be at the Disney/Hyperion tables plugging my new kids books THE PIGEON FINDS A HOT DOG! (sequel to the Caldecott honored DON’T LET THE PIGEON DRIVE THE BUS!) and KNUFFLE BUNNY: A CAUTIONARY TALE (which utilizes cartoon characters over black and white photos). I’ll be giving the lunch address at the ABC (children’s booksellers org) and discuss how I use animation production techniques for books while at BookExpo, where one of my originals will be awarded to an “outstanding” bookseller (the Pannel award).
I’ll also be signing for the public at Chicago’s printers row on that Saturday.”
More info at www.mowillems.com
Two big industry events are right around the corner – BOOKEXPO AMERICA June 3-6 in Chicago and LICENSING INTERNATIONAL June 8-10 in New York.These are the two biggies for people in the trade – and its the place to be to see what will appear in bookstores and toystores for the next 12 months. I’m not planning to attend either show this time around, but I’ve been to each in recent years and they are quite extensive. For example, this year MGM plans to unveil a “Baby Pink Panther” line (see image above right) at the Licensing Show, and Disney licencees will show off their INCREDIBLES tie-in books (see left) at BookExpo.And here’s a clue for loyal BREW readers attending the BookExpo: seek out the Chronicle Books display for information on Amid’s upcoming projects… and locate Harper Collins Design for an upcoming top-secret Jerry project.
Golden Age Disney animator and prolific “funny animal” comic book artist Jack Bradbury passed away last week at the age of 89. Mark Evanier has a nice look at Bradbury’s career HERE.
Always happy to post a John Canemaker update: The current May/June issue of PRINT (“America’s Graphic Design Magazine”) has two new writings by Canemaker:
a book review of William Moritz’s biography of Oskar Fischinger “Optical Poetry”( p. 24+);and a profusely illustrated essay on Andreas Hykade, Germany’s controversial independent animator: “Jesus, Elvis and Me” (pp. 70-76).
The following are excerpts from an article, “For This Animated Movie, a Cast of Household Names” By Eric A. Taub published in today’s NY TIMES:
Threshold Entertainment, a modestly sized animation and special effects company that has never made a full-length animated film before, hopes to go “Toy Story” one better with “Foodfight!,” an animated movie that takes place in a supermarket after the lights go down.The company has the right to use animated versions of 80 name-brand products and their associated characters, including Charlie the Tuna and the Brawny paper towel man. The movie is not expected to be released until late 2005, at the earliest, and the company does not yet have a deal with a distributor.”The movie looks wonderful,” said Mark Mills, president of Motion Picture Magic, a product placement company in Encino, Calif. “Threshold will be considered to be the new and upcoming Pixar.”
Read the whole piece HERE. (Thanks to E. Lurio for the link)
An eighth grader wrote an editorial in today’s New York NEWSDAY, begging Disney not to abandon traditional animation:
During spring break, my family and I took the animation studio tour at MGM Studios in Florida. A man showing us a few sketches and backgrounds from the new Disney movie “Home on the Range,” said something startling. He said that Disney plans to stop making animated movies drawn by hand and shift to the newer 3-D computer animation technique, which was used in such hits as “Toy Story” and “Finding Nemo.”
When we heard this, almost everyone in the room gasped. How could Disney end all those years of wonderful 2-D animation in favor of a computer?
Read the rest HERE.
The SAN FRANCISCO GATE has a piece HERE about Pixar’s ambitious expansion plans. The studio has a 20-year, $325 million development plan that could result in three new buildings with 544,000 square feet of space. The studio’s current space is 218,000 square feet. Also on the drawing board is a six-story 1,801-space parking garage. The best news though is that Pixar believes over the next couple decades they’ll be adding 1,350 more jobs to their current 625-person payroll.
Sunday’s LA TIMES had a short piece on the new Linkin Park music video “Breaking the Habit” which was supervised (and according to the TIMES, mostly animated by) Kazuto Nakazawa of the Japanese studio Production I.G. Nakazawa was also responsible for the graphic animated sequence in KILL BILL VOLUME 1. The Linkin Park video, which has already debuted in the UK, will start in full rotation on MTV and MTV2 in the US with a “Making of the Video” program premiering on May 24. The video depicts the troubled lives and emotional conflicts of various people living in a gritty, urban apartment high-rise.
The LA TIMES had this interesting quote from MTV’s exec VP of music Tom Calderone: “It’s anime, always going to be a little edgier. You can’t do anime that feels like bubble gum. It’s always going to have a dark side.” Calderone’s quote is telling in that it illustrates what anime has come to represent in the United States. Not merely a look or style of animation, anime is where people turn when they want to produce cartoons featuring mature, edgy and intelligent storytelling. Anime’s near monopoly on adult animation however doesn’t mean that it’s the only style available to filmmakers. Involving, emotionally satisfying stories are possible in myriad visual styles, including fluid Disney-style animation. Sadly though, decades of infantile and incompetent storytelling by the modern Disney studio, Katzenberg, Bluth and others have forced filmmakers to avoid like the plague the lush appealing style of animation pioneered by the Golden Age Disney studio. At least we can be thankful that intelligence has finally found a home in animation, even if it means for now these type of stories are being told exclusively through Japanese animation.
(“Breaking the Habit” image from Anime UK News)
The NY DAILY NEWS reports that even though Fox Television announced over a week ago that they’d reached a deal with THE SIMPSONS voice cast, the six actors still haven’t signed their new contracts. According to the paper, the actors are “balking at Fox’s 11th-hour demand that they help promote SIMPSONS DVDS and other products – for which they won’t be paid.”
A nicely done black-&-white Fleischer-style anti-Bush cartoon spot. It was written and directed by Tom Neely and Greg Saunders, and animated by Neely.
(Thanks to Harry McCracken for the link)
A hearty thanks from Jerry Beck and myself to Mark Mayerson for being our first guest contributor, and a superb one at that. Over the past few weeks, I’ve enjoyed reading his insightful perspective on the TV animation biz, and we’ve heard from numerous other folks thanking us for his pieces. Thanks again to Mark and stay tuned for our next guest contributor who we’ll be announcing soon.
Here’s a photo of Will Smith, Angelina Jolie and Jack Black at the Cannes Film Festival riding atop an inflatable SHARK TALE pool toy. And there’s still five months until this film is released. Boy, this is going to be a lot of fun.
More than a dozen 700 pound statues of Mickey Mouse will soon appear in Portland, Oregon, as part of a year long Disney Company nationwide tour, “Celebrate Mickey: 75 InspEARations”. Read about it here.
Oh, this looks good!A new trailer for Pixar’s The Incredibles is up – posted here – and it’s hilarious. Any doubt that this will be anything less than a blockbuster?Go, Pixar, go!
This is going to be my last contribution to Cartoon Brew. I’d like to thank Jerry and Amid for having me as a guest for a few weeks and I hope that my contributions were useful to somebody.
Having talked in generalities about TV animation, I’m now going to get specific and talk about myself. Monster By Mistake has wrapped up production and now I’m writing new scripts and pitches which I’ll be taking into the marketplace later this year.
One market that I hope to crack is the direct-to-video computer animated feature. I’ve got a script for one ready to go and another script in progress. If there are any home video producers reading this (or for that matter, any feature producers) who’d like to see the material, please contact me through the Catapult Productions website (which is way overdue for an update; that’s what happens when you’re neck deep in production).
Another goal I have is to find an agent. I’m not interested in an agent to rep me as a writer-director so much as I am interested in an agent to represent Catapult Productions as we try to launch new properties for TV, home video and (someday, please!) films. If there are any interested agents out there or folks with representation who might be willing to give me a referral, please contact me through Catapult Productions.
Once again, thanks to Jerry and Amid for a great website and for giving me the opportunity to be part of it. -Mark Mayerson